By Mary Kay Cvacho

Approximately 25 years ago, a dairy farmer from Bedford County, Buddy Mitchell, introduced Ernest Campbell to Bill Layne. All three of these men had a mutual interest in antiques, especially old farm equipment. The three of them went to the Richmond State Fair where they saw one cylinder gas engines. Ernest had never seen one of these before. Bill knew what they were and said that if Ernest could find him one, he could make it run. Sure enough, Ernest came across a six horsepower Fairbanks Morse engine that belonged to Witt Foster. Mr. Foster had made a living with it sawing wood. Mr. Foster had planned on selling it for scrap. When Ernest expressed an interest in buying it, they tried to put it on Ernest's truck, but it did not fit. Mr. Foster brought it to Ernest's house and sold it for $6.00. As the two men talked about that old engine, Mr Foster said that if he could hear it run one more time, he wouldn't charge anything for it. Needless to say, Ernest got his $6.00 back

Bill and Ernest began searching for engines together and separately. They also bought other things as partners. Over 20 years ago they went to the first show that Somerset, Virginia had. Other early shows they attended include Bridgewater and Weyers Cave. The Bridgewater Show was so interesting to them, that they went back and forth to it for three days. This really fueled their interest and they joined the Somerset and Weyers Cave Clubs. They were enjoying the shows so much that they learned the rules of these shows.

A few years ago they invited their friend, Lyle Moore, to the Weyers Cave Show. Lyle and his Son, Ronnie, also became very interested. In late 1991, Lyle asked, "Why can't we have one of our own shows, so we don't have to travel so far?" That is all it took for a small handful of men to begin plans for a Stonewall Show. The biggest question was, "Where are we going to hold the show?" Lyle offered his farm.

The small group talked to farmers and others and on a cold night in February 1992, 18 people met for the first meeting of the Stonewall Antique Power Association. They were very excited to plan the first Stonewall Show. They needed insurance, portable toilets, and money was needed for other things. Many of the original 18 members donated $100.00 each and some gave much more than that. That first show in 1992 was a great success and it has been growing ever since. No one thought it would get off the ground like it has.